Medical artefacts of the late 19th century discovered during Yauzskaya Hospital's renovation

Medical artefacts of the late 19th century discovered during Yauzskaya Hospital's renovation
Some papers were found during the restoration of the hospital building's attic. It is a prescription leaflet from a Mr. Komarov's book and a morphine bottle's label.

Medical handwritten documents of the late 19th century have been discovered during restoration of one of the buildings of Davydovsky Municipal Clinical Hospital No. 23, also known as Yauzskaya Hospital. It was founded in 1878.

Papers have been found on the floor of the hospital's attic (11/6 bldg. 9 Yauzskaya Street) under a layer of expanded clay, baked clay gravel, used as a thermal insulation.

There is also a piece of a medicine bottle label with the inscription: "Morphine-containing composition for subcutaneous injections. For operating theatre", with a doctor's signature and date on the label's back: "Glagolev. 28 October 1884." A sheet from Mr. Komarov's book have also been discovered, with prescription for hospital patients. This finding is likely to date back to 1887.

"First off, these two documents are noteworthy, because they were written in the medical language of the late 19th century. Second, we are lucky to discover this great rarity, since  paper usually lasts only 50-100 years. Despite of being exposed to extreme conditions for more that a century, in a cold ever-damp attic room with temperature fluctuations, the documents are very well preserved. It is remarkable that they are written in good hand on high-quality paper with quality pen and ink," said Head of the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department Alexei Yemelyanov

He added that the artefacts have been handed over to paper restoration experts. They will restore and examine the documents found. A detailed analysis may help to find out important details about the Yauzskaya Hospital's activities of the late 19th century.

Outbuildings converted into a hospital: where the documents have been found

The hospital building, where the artefacts have been found, has a complicated structure,  as it consists of several adjacent sections.

The building was originally a two-storey construction built in the late 18th century as an administration building of the Batashevs' estate facilities. Ivan Batashev, merchant and owner of Vyksa Steel Works and Tula Samovar Manufacturing factories ordered to build these facilities.

It is assumed that the work was carried out by the serf architect Mikhail Kiselnikov after the design by Rodion Kazakov, who also designed the Church of Barbara the Great Martyr on Varvarka Street, and a Frenchman Charles De Wailly.

In the 1870s, the estate was bought by the Board of Trustees for Moscow public assistance institutions and later housed labourers' hospital. After the October Revolution, the medical institution was renamed Medsantrud Hospital that later became departmental hospital for the State Political Administration under the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs.

In 1881, former outbuildings were converted into the hospital after the architect Alexander Meinhard's design. It housed barracks for nurses, rooms for paramedic personnel, a common kitchen, men's barracks, apothecary apprentice's rooms, and utility rooms (barns, ice-houses and store rooms). In the mid-20th century, the third floor was built over the western part of the building.

The building has a classicism-style front and an attic (decorative wall), with a rectangular window on the second floor decorated with a small balustrade, and arch niches on the first floor. The interior has the layout of the second half of the 19th century preserved, but the historical interiors have not survived.

Now the hospital building has an attic fully renovated, with rafters and floor slabs partly replaced, and roof updated. Utility system replacement is in its final stage now. Experts have also restored the facades with the interior being repaired.

Yauzskaya Hospital's buildings to be renovated

This January, large-scale renovation of seven buildings, fences and gates of Yauzskaya Hospital's main entrance launched. Restoration in the main building is to start in 2019 as well. The facility covers 3 ha.

In total, the hospital comprises 15 buildings, with some of them being cultural heritage sites. The restoration project takes into account historical uniqueness of the buildings, and the need to adapt them to the modern needs of the medical institution.

Experts are restoring the fence and the main clinic's gate, with a hospital buildings' restoration being underway. Eight historical buildings of the 18th-20th centuries are to be renovated by 2020.

Any repair or restoration work in these sites must be approved and supervised by the Moscow Cultural Heritage Department. Estate facilities are prohibited to demolish, and their historical appearance must be preserved.

During the restoration work, the building's load-bearing structures are to be strengthened, with roofs repaired, roofing and drainage systems replaced, dormer windows and chimney recreated. Hospital buildings' facades are to be cleaned of dirt and dust, old paint coatings and plaster layers, with chips and cracks plastered, brickwork repaired, and white stone basement restored. Then the walls are to be plastered and painted.

Inside the buildings, plaster moulding decoration is to be renovated, preserved stoves and Monier system vaults, metlach tiles' (small ceramic tiles of various shapes and colours) flooring are to be restored.

Yauzskaya Hospital's area houses several architectural landmarks, with the Batashev's estate facilities (cultural heritage site of federal significance) as a centrepiece. In addition to household facilities of the 18th century (building 9), it includes some more buildings — two side wings of 18th–19th centuries (buildings 3 and 10) and the main building erected in the late 18th — early 19th century (building 1).

The estate built in 1796-1802 is a piece of Russian classicism style characterised by austere and concise forms, symmetrical layout and simple decor. So, the main construction that houses now the hospital's main building features now a three-storeyed house with a pediment, six columns  and adjacent wings. Cast iron front gate bars looking like the fence of the Summer Garden in St. Petersburg, as well as lions decorating gate pylons, were cast in Batashev's factories.

The ensemble of Yauzskaya Municipal Hospital (cultural heritage site of regional significance) features another architectural landmark, with its fence and gate of the front yard of the late 18th century, the building of household facilities, dated 18th century (building 19), an administration building of the late 18th century (building 11), garden pavilion (guard's house) built in the late 1800s (building 8), and an outpatient building (building 2).

The latter was built in 1909 by architect Illarion Ivanov-Shits in the neoclassical style. This architectural trend was popular in the late 19th — early 20th century. It is characterised by an appeal to the ancient art, the Renaissance art, and to the earlier classicism.

Also, its grounds house some discovered cultural heritage sites, two garden fences on the eastern and western borders of the territory, and a fragment of the retaining wall of the household facilities.

Hospital today

One of the oldest Moscow clinics has a rich history. In the 1930s, it housed surgical and therapeutic clinics of municipal  medical institutions, where professors Ippolit Davydovsky, Boris Kogan and others worked. In 1943, it became the first medical institution in the USSR to use penicillin.

Today, Davydovsky State Clinical Hospital No. 23 is a multidisciplinary clinic with 485 beds. Over 85 percent of inpatient admissions are urgent. Besides, the hospital has been practicing logistics development and most advanced medical technologies to create and develop heart attack and stroke treatment networks in Moscow. It treats acute myocardial infarction and acute cerebrovascular accident patients, with unique heart rhythm disorder surgeries.

In addition, the hospital houses a Personalised Medicine Centre, where experts select patient-specific medicines for seriously ill patients. Yauzskaya Hospital doctors perform simultaneous surgeries, including on patients over 80 years old. During surgical intervention, several pathologies, such as chest or abdominal organs and coronary artery atherosclerosis, are eliminated.